Being a big fan of Monsters Inc. I was eagerly anticipating the prequel, Monsters University, but had my expectations set low so as not to be disappointed. The first film became so iconic because of the beautiful animation, original characters and creative story line. The problem with the second film is that 10 years on, animation is still amazing and we have seen plenty more stunners since, the characters aren’t original any more and the Monster’s universe has already been explored. SO you can’t go in to the cinema expecting to get that same feeling you did the first time around… just saying.
The film looks at Mike and Sully in their younger years at Uni, which gives a lot of opportunities for new concepts and ideas of the monsters universe, i.e. the underwater monsters and general rules on class trips “No breathing fire children… What did I just say?!” as well all the crazy new monsters Disney Pixar have dreamed up (or is it dreamt?!). Whilst at Uni, the pair begrudgingly enter a competition together, forming a team in the Monster Games where they have to compete to prove they are the ‘scariest’ monsters.
The story line itself I felt was a little lacking although I did enjoy some of the imaginative games the teams had to play. The introduction of some new characters felt no where near as innovative as the first time we got to see the monsters universe but there is some fun to be had with the new guys, especially the crazy armed stoner Art, voiced by hilarious Charlie Day.
There are some more great famous voices making an appearance in Monsters University including my favourite man Nathan Fillion as the main jock character, Johnny (I am completely obsessed with TV show, Castle atm). Plus Helen Mirren as the evil Dean Hardscrabble who I thought could have been more menacing over all but the design of her dragon-like character was pretty cool. Steve Buscemi is back too as slime ball Randy and we get to see why his character seems to have a personal vendetta against Sully in Monsters Inc.
Young Mike is the most adorable monster you have ever seen and the initial scenes only make your love for Mike more justified, as well as setting you up to be routing for him all the way. Sully on the other hand, although lovable from the off in Monsters Inc., takes a while for the audience to warm up to. It is fun to see these characters background though and the montage at the end of the film sums the whole story up really well I thought. Of course John Goodman and Billy Crystal are back to play their characters again with just as much effort the second time around.
Over-all I wasn’t disappointed by the outcome as I knew they could never beat Monsters Inc itself. Monsters University is a good instalment to the franchise and I was happy to see the characters again in a different scenario. There are also a lot of nods to the first film, like Yeti and everyone’s favourite – Roz. I do feel like the story line could have been stronger though.
PS. The animation The Blue Umbrella at the beginning of the film was magical so make sure you get there in time for that!